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  • For Daily Use

    Here’s what game theory says about how to win in semifinals

    When it comes to tournament-style competitions, people tend to focus on the championship round: the Super Bowl, the general election, the final interviews for a job opening. But consider the importance of the semifinal. A loss guarantees a finish of no better than third place, but the all-out effort needed for winning can bring a high cost: Competitors may be too drained in the championship....

    05/22/2015 - 16:41 Science & Society, Numbers
  • News

    Earliest known stone tools unearthed in Kenya

    Excavations in an arid, hilly part of East Africa have uncovered 3.3-million-year-old stone tools, by far the oldest such implements found to date.

    The tools’ age indicates that members of the human evolutionary family understood how to break stones into usable forms long before the emergence of the Homo genus, say archaeologist Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University in New...

    05/20/2015 - 13:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Gene therapy, Gattaca-style, poses ethical issues

    As scientists explore ways to use genetic engineering to battle blindness, it’s obvious that gene therapy has gotten more sophisticated.

    In traditional gene therapy, scientists “fix” a broken gene by supplying a healthy version to affected cells. Researchers have used this...

    05/20/2015 - 08:50 Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    The art and science of the hedgerow

    05/17/2015 - 16:00 Plants, Science & Society
  • News

    Quantity counts for baboons

    Monkeys can’t count. But they can mentally keep track of and compare approximate quantities that increase one item at a time. That shows that monkeys use a kind of reasoning that also underlies human counting, researchers report May 7 in Psychological Science.

    In a series of trials, two...

    05/17/2015 - 09:00 Psychology, Animals
  • Reviews & Previews

    Histories left behind by the dispossessed

    05/16/2015 - 10:00 Science & Society
  • Culture Beaker

    The Dress divided the Internet, but it’s really about subtraction

    It was the dress that launched a million tweets. In February, a mother-in-law-to-be sent a picture of a dress she was considering wearing to her daughter Grace’s wedding to Grace and her fiancé. The couple couldn’t agree on the dress’s color: was it blue and black or white and gold? (White and gold, obviously.) The disagreement prompted the daughter to post the picture on social media,...

    05/14/2015 - 12:49 Science & Society, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Humans and Neandertals mated more recently than thought

    COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. — A Neandertal was the great-great-great-great-grandparent of a man who lived between 42,000 and 37,000 years ago in Romania.

    DNA extracted from the bones of a human man known as Oase 1 contains 4.8 to 11.3 percent Neandertal DNA arranged in long stretches, Qiaomei Fu of Harvard University reported May 8 at the Biology of Genomes meeting. The large amount and...

    05/11/2015 - 17:14 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News

    On Facebook, you control the slant of the news you choose

    Don’t totally blame Facebook for worsening political divisions between liberals and conservatives. Those rifts have more to do with the news you — and your online friends — choose.

    The social media site’s news-filtering program shuts out some opposing points of view, but not as much as its users do on their own, researchers...

    05/07/2015 - 14:00 Psychology, Networks, Technology
  • Culture Beaker

    Working together doesn’t always work

    The benefits of working together are so widely recognized that they’re cliché. Two heads are better than one. Many hands make light work. Great minds think alike. None of us is as smart as all of us. Be a team player. If you’ve never said one of these middle management tropes, you’ve probably heard one (or seen one on an inspirational ...

    05/07/2015 - 12:21 Science & Society, Networks